Saturday, October 27, 2018

On Books, And Nothing About The Bakken -- October 27, 2018

Updates

October 28, 2018: a reader was kind enough to make a recommendation -- The New Journalism by Tom Wolfe. I'll order a copy and post a short note after I read it. Thank you very, very much.

Original Post 

Last night I was talking with two educators who taught English and loved reading. After about fifteen minutes, the conversation turned to Hunter S. Thompson.

We all agreed that there really was no other writer that one can compare to Hunter. Some writers have tried "copying" Hunter's style but we agreed that no one has been successful.

Tonight I started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I've read it three or four times; something draws me back to it every five or six years it seems.

Tonight, while reading it, ... wow, it sounded just like Hunter S Thompson ... maybe not exactly his style and maybe folks will strongly disagree but consciously or subconsciously I immediately thought of Hunter S Thompson.

I was curious. I did a search of all I've written over the years on what I've read, looking to see if I've made this association before.

Incredibly, years ago, I had posted a little clipping in my diary (see below),  a short little "Q&A" from the WSJ, dated February 20, 2009, in the "Dear Book Lover" column. The reader asked this question:
Sometimes you hear a person say a book "changed my life." I've often wondered what that really means. It is just hyperbole? Can a book do that? J.G., New York.
Cynthia Crossen, the "book reviewer" replied:
I'm usually suspicious of claims that a single book has been life-changing, especially if they're printed on the backs of book trying to sell something. Mostly books change lives because they change the way readers think. Or they turn a nonreader into a reader or even a writer.
But Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S Thompson changed the course of my life. At the time I read it, I was drifting through a post-college recession working odd jobs. Mr Thompson's druggy but crafty descriptions of the conventions that nominated Richard Nixon and George McGovern put a fire in my belly; I wanted to go to one or both of the next conventions. That mean becoming either a journalist or a politician. (I did succeed in getting credentials, but wasn't able to attend.)
At a younger age, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier changed my life ... with a "you-can-do-that-in-a -book? thunderbolt. 
And Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig probably changed my life because of his ruminations on why we ask the question "What's new? so much more than "What's best?"


I find that incredible. I've read all three books; loved them all; two more than the third. But of the tens of thousands of books Ms Crossen has read, reviewed, and/or recommended, she mentioned three, one by Hunter S Thompson and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

What are the odds?

World Series, If / Then Computer Programming, And Absolutely Nothing About The Bakken; And, Where's Carlos? -- October 27, 2018

Updates

October 28, 2018: fifth game tonight, Sunday, at Los Angeles.

October 28, 2018: wow, talk about the nuances of the game -- the "designated hitter" vs the "pinch hitter." Wow, the nuances. See this thread

October 28, 2018: Joe Buck, perhaps my favorite sports announcer. 

October 28, 2018: wow, what a game, game 4! I can't stop watching the video highlights. "Print media" is finally catching up with the internet. "Print media" posting on the internet are finally using links (rarely) and more importantly, video. And every short "must-see" video has a 30-second advertisement. 

October 28, 2018: wow, what a game, game 4! A game for the ages. See this link. I think of baseball as a game of mano a mano: the pitcher vs the batter. But, at the end of the day, it's a team sport -- this game proves it.  

Original Post
 
In The God Problem, Howard Bloom says computers have trouble with the "=" sign. Computers, he said, handle "if / then" instructions better.

I was thinking about the World Series while biking yesterday. Before the third game last night, Boston Red Sox led the series 2 - 0. The third game for the Dodges was the series. If they lost the third game they would have to win four games in a row; the Red Sox would simply have to win one game in three. Had the Dodgers lost last night, that would have been the series.

I am rooting for Boston but was glad to see the Dodgers win last night. Had Boston won, the series would have been over. It would have simply been (at most) four more games to play, knowing what the outcome would be.

Now, with the series at 2 - 1, tonight's game is not quite as important for the Dodgers, but it's almost as important (you will soon see why). Sure, if the Dodgers win, it evens the series, but for the Dodgers to take the series, it means they will have had to win four of five games. Not likely.

Some will argue that what is past is past, and with a win tonight, the Dodgers will even the series and both teams are back to "best of three games."

And that's where "if / then" comes in.

It would be interesting to program a computer in the following manner and see the results.

Load the entire World Series data from the very beginning in terms of the final outcomes.

Have the computer look at each championship at the end of game four. Program begins:
  • if "2 -2", then "keep it." Delete all championship series in which the series was not 2 - 2 at the end of four games.
Then, of the series that are left:
  • if "2 - 0" then "keep it." Delete all championship series in which the series was not 2 - 0 at the end of the first two games.
In the list that is generated, list all the teams that had the two wins.

Then, go back and list the winners of every championship series.

Figure the percentage of times the team that won the first two games won the series.

Simple, simple, simple, "if / then" program.

My hunch is that in this situation, the team that wins the first two games will win the series over 75% of the time.

Then it struck me. I bet someone has already done this on the internet. Let's see.

google: world series percent of times team won series after winning first two games

Very first hit: https://sabr.org/research/world-series-game-situation-winning-probabilities-how-often-do-teams-come-back-behind.
And the result? Wow, there it is. Secretly I had said to myself the probability was likely greater than 80% but I thought was "too crazy" so I posted 75% above. And there it is. The probability based on the situation as described: 80.4% probability that the Boston Red Sox will win this series.

So, even if the Dodgers win tonight and it's a best of three-game series, in fact, the Red Sox are greatly favored. Any team, historically, in this situation, has an 80% chance of winning the series.

One has to be careful: some folks are going to say that in fact I'm wrong; that at 2 - 1, the odds of the Red Sox winning the series is 68% -- see chart above. But the series was never 2 - 0. The series was 1 - 1; and then it went to 2 -1. Big difference.

By the way, by just winning the first game, Boston has a 64% chance (based on history) of winning the series. 

By the way, earlier I said had the Red Sox won last night, that would have been the end of the series. Why can I say that. Look at the chart. Not one team has ever come back from a 3 - 0 deficit to win the World Series. Not one. Zero percent chance. 

But back to the original exercise: what an incredibly easy "if / then" program.

I think I will this by Arianna tomorrow on our drive to her water polo tournament tomorrow -- it's an hour's drive. My hunch: there is a 99% chance she will fall asleep before we are outside Grapevine, TX, city limits based on past experience. LOL.

With regard to tonight's game, the article linked above ends with this:
So don’t spend too much on the champagne if your team is ahead 2–1 in the World Series since you only have a two-thirds chance of winning. But if you win the very important Game Four, you can put the bubbly on ice. It’s a good bet you’ll get to open it.
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Where's Carlos?

Updates

October 28, 2018: developments coming fast and furious --
  • DOD: Mattis has started sending troops
  • DHS: says the caravan "will not get in"
  • caravan taking a "rest" at Tapanatepec
  • fights breaking out in food line
  • adult male accused of stealing child (illegals know that "children" anchor the family in the US; there is no way to quickly determine which child belongs to whom)
  • if caravan gets through Mexico City, it is obvious that the Mexican government is abetting and aiding, something Trump won't tolerate
  • my hunch: crossing the US border from Mexico is going to get more and more complicated as each day goes by: US can use legal masses that cross every day as "blockers" of illegals trying to cross en mass; it could get ugly but US will work to keep it ugly on the Mexico side of the border
Original Post
Based on this link.

Total's 3Q18 Profit Surges Almost 50% To Highest Since 2012 -- October 27, 2018

See Fitzsimmon's comments on COP's earnings here.

Now, this: Total's 3Q18's profit surges 48% to highest since 2012. Link here. Transcript pending.
At Zacks:
  • earnings beat forecast:
    • estimate: $1.31
    • actual: $1.47
    • last year: $1.04
  • revenues slammed forecast:
    • forecast: $36 billion
    • actual: $46 billion
    • a year ago: $30 billion
Comment: shares are on sale.

Shares: paying over 5%.

Price of oil: some folks feel that the price of oil is trending favorably for majors. Others are concerned.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.

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Texas Motor Speedway

NASCAR race at TMS, just a few miles west of where we live, is slated for next week but already recreational vehicles are in line and entering the grounds for a week of vacationing while waiting for the race.

But this is the big news: a "7-Eleven" convenience store has opened on the TMS site and will remain open through the end of the race. This is the company's first convenience store located on any NASCAR track, according to our local news. And apparently it is, from a press release:
IRVING, TEXAS (Oct. 8, 2018) 7‑Eleven, Inc. is off to the races! The world’s largest convenience retailer announces its first location at a professional sports venue. The store will open at Texas Motor Speedway in time for the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Playoff weekend beginning Oct. 27 until Nov. 5. The triple-header features the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.
The 7‑Eleven® store will operate 24 hours a day during race weeks beginning at 8 a.m. on the Saturday before the race and ending the following Monday at 4 p.m.
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Tic-Tac-Toe

From a scrap of paper that Sophia had worked on during the day. Note the "tic-tac-toe" that Sophia drew -- apparently on her own -- with three "oh's" in a line; and the "x's" in the corners. Considering where we "were" with tic-tac-toe two weeks ago, this was simply amazing. For the archives.

A Real Witches' Brew Of A Problem -- October 27, 2018

As readers know, I find the New England electricity story fascinating (see ISO New England; and, road to New England). An individual who knows this story a whole lot better than I do just sent me a note:
Yesterday,  Maine's Public Utility Commission postponed decision/discussion on huge transmission line (Clean Energy Connect) set to bring hydroelectric from Quebec to Massachusetts.
This is the 'second choice' after Northern Pass was shot down by New Hampshire regulators.

The PUC will announce this coming Wednesday what the developers need to provide - information-wise - and early analysis suggests this project will be greatly delayed or shot down.
Combined with the mega-earthquake announcement that Mystic River will be retired in about 5 years those New England folks are seriously entering precarious territory regarding keepin'  the lights on in the winter.
One might add: keeping the lights on in late autumn and/or early spring might be just as problematic -- certainly just as expensive.

I was very, very aware of this story -- I was not aware of the most recent update -- but when I first read about this story some months ago, I thought, wow, Maine has no interesting in helping Boston meet its electricity needs. This will be fascinating to watch.

Tourism in Maine is sacrosanct, and I can understand the anxiety over huge transmission lines. From a tourism point of view, and from a state's point of view, I would think a pipeline (Northern Pass) would be the best option, but it only takes a few landowners (with judicial assistance) to keep that from happening.

As noted, this story will be fascinating to watch.  

I'm sure the most recent news (that the Maine PUC delayed a decision) is easily found everywhere, but here's one link.
Regulators who have the power to approve or derail a plan to build a 145-mile transmission line through Maine are delaying their decision.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission, which had been expected to issue a decision by year’s end on Central Maine Power’s plan to bring hydropower from Quebec to markets in Massachusetts, filed an order Friday morning saying intervenors needed more time to digest thousands of pages of information submitted in the case. Hearings set for October 30 and November 1, 2018 were canceled.
Instead, a conference has been set for October 31, 2018, to establish a new timetable for the decision.
A new word? "Intervenors" -- a new word for "regulators"?

And look at that, the next meeting is simply to establish a new timetable.

Reading the news article (quickly) suggests that some folks are betting on renewable energy to solve the problem -- with nuclear plants shutting down, there's no way solar energy can take up the slack.

This will be fascinating to watch as it plays out.

By the way, October 31st -- Salem,  Massachusetts -- should be quite a busy day / night in that part of the region. If the "John Proctor" house is still available, it might be spot where the Maine PUC could hold their "timetable meeting" -- if they want to take a short road trip. Sounds like they might need some "spirit-ual" help on this one. It would be a beautiful drive along the coast this time of year, from Augusta, ME, to Salem, MA.

If the link is broken, note:
A house where a victim of the Salem witch trials once lived is on the market for $600,000 just in time for Halloween.
The nearly 4,000-square-foot home built in 1638 was once the home of John Proctor, who was convicted of witchcraft and hanged in 1692. The six-bedroom, two-bathroom home is in Peabody, which at the time was part of Salem.
On another note, it sounds like there might be a bit of animosity between these two states, although it's been almost 200 years since they resolved their statehood differences:
Although it started as a separate colony in the 1620s, from the 1650s until 1820 Maine was a part of Massachusetts. After the Revolution, people living in Maine began a 35-year campaign for statehood.

Now, Another Bottleneck In The US Ethane Story -- October 27, 2018

I assume the four major processes involving ethane:
  • production at the well-head
  • fractionation
  • transportation
  • end user (petrochemical plant)
I believe back in the early days of the Bakken boom, the ethane was not wanted because there was inadequate demand by the end user (not enough petrochemical plants).

See ethane rejection.

Now it appears there is not enough ethane available to meet end user demand: not enough capacity to separate ethane from the other natural gas liquids (NGLs).

If I that correct, imagine all the petrochemical plants that have sprung up over the past few years, or expansion of existing plants.

See this article in the Houston Chronicle.

By the way, I haven't heard a thing about NGLs Badlands in a long, long time. It seems I was sent a note on it recently but if so I lost it. I did ask for an update on April 16, 2018, but no response (at least nothing that I posted). See this post, from June 21, 2016:
North Dakota’s top oil producer—Continental Resources Inc.—has signed a long-term agreement to supply ethane to a proposed $6.5 billion polyethylene plant that Badlands NGL plans to build in the state.

“The interesting thing is that the Continental announcement is leading to very serious dialogues with other producers in North Dakota,” William Gilliam, Badlands CEO, told The Bakken magazine. “We are also pursuing very serious discussions in Canada.”

He cited a recent report by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) which said Canada could produce 350,000 barrels of ethane per day. Gilliam noted that he will be in Alberta this week for meetings with potential ethane suppliers.

“We’re actually looking at building a bigger ethane cracker in North Dakota because of the fact that we think we can be successful in gaining an important amount of ethane from Canada,” Gilliam said.
My thoughts: nice problem to have. "They" will solve it. Lots of jobs. If Proposition 112 in Colorado passes, there will be a lot of experienced workers ready to help out in Texas. 

Coming This Week: Apple's Hardware Announcements For 2019

Link here. Will go live three hours earlier than usual -- will begin at 9:00 a.m. Central Time, Tuesday.
Apple's event will kick off at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, three hours earlier than events are normally held. This year's event is happening earlier because it's taking place on the East Coast instead of the West Coast.
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Getting Ready For Next Cross-Country Trip

But it will be a short one -- as far as Amarillo, TX.

Why? Meeting up with a 72-year-old lawyer whom I have never met. Serendipity led me to this one ... started 47 years ago when I sold dictionaries door-to-door in Union County (Westfield), New Jersey, during the summer between my sophomore and junior years in college.

Through a strange series of events last night I learned of this individual who had the same experience. Time to meet him. 

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Midnight In Paris

Midnight in Paris, Opening

I always associate this music with Monet, now.

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Some People Need More Oxygen Than Others

From Howard Bloom, The God Problem, 2016:
Attention is the oxygen of the human soul. If we get it, we thrive. If we don't get it, we shrivel and die. Without attention our immune system shuts down and brain cells in our hippocampus kill themselves off. So, we all compete for a space in the eyes, minds, and hearts of others....
... Frnak Sulloway, a former research scholar in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and a visitng scholar at UC Berkely's Institute of Personality and Social Research, wrote a book in 1996 called Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives. Sulloway's book was about family dynamics ....
.... then comes infant number two. And infant number two has a dilemma. How will she get attention? Her older sister already holds center stage and knows how to work the spotlight. Her older sister already occupies the good-kid slot. So, says Sulloway, the newcomer in the family goes for attention by finding another niche. She probes for another slot in attention space. That open position? The nonconformist. The rebel.
Many weeks ago I talked to a reader about "second-child" phenomenon among English explorers. I don't know if I posted that on the blog or no; I forget. The blog merges imperceptibly with my life; I cannot tell when I've crossed from one domain to the other. There may be other reasons for the "second-child" phenomenon among English explorers, but Sulloway certainly adds another dimension.

Week 43: October 21, 2018 -- October 27, 2018

#1 post this past week: Honey bees

Top story: RBN Energy features the Bakken 

Honorable mention: Mexico to import Bakken oil

International:
Refinery capacity to grow 15% over next four years; China needs oil for transportation;
Saudi Arabia infrastructure conference one huge dud

National:
Huge crude oil build slams prices; and, here 
Natural gas prices spike in Pacific northwest
Nation's natural gas fill-rate continues to widen
US greenlights first oil drilling project in Alaska federal waters  (despite Kavanaugh vote)
Tesla reports huge profit
3Q18 mega-deal hit highest value since 3Q14
Gasoline demand shows sign of life
US crude oil exports now averaging 2 million bopd

Operations
Random update of another incredible MRO well -- MRO still tops list for top operator in the Bakken, 2018
Slawson's Gabriel wells in North Tobacco Garden updated
EOG looks to put "multiple wells" on two 640-acre units
WPX reports two huge Behr wells
$8 million/year production for an old CLR well

Pipelines
DAPL expansion?

Flaring
NDIC to review flaring "guidelines"

Bakken economy
Legacy Fund deposits decline slightly 

Miscellaneous
Ordinary high water mark survey will be re-visited (again)
COP earnings: a grand slam 

Resurgence In Fossil Fuel Excitment? Global Refining Capacity To Increase By 15% Over Next Four Years -- October 27, 2018

Global refining update -- GlobalData -- data points:
  • global refining measured in global crude distillation units (CDUs)
  • global CDUs will grow 15% over next four years
  • from 102 million bpd to 117 million bpd (2022)
  • those refineries will need oil -- well, duh -- but sometimes the obvious needs point out
  • corresponds with latest figures that global demand for oil is now at/near 100 million bpd
  • continent with greatest CDU increase: Asia, specifically China
  • reason: transportation
  • for all that talk about EVs, 15% growth in CDUs seems pretty impressive
  • China will have to import more oil
  • this is the data point not mentioned at the report: will China lean toward refineries optimized for heavy oil (Mideast) or for refineries optimized for light oil (US)
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Earnings Reports From Yesterday (Some From Earlier In The Week)

PSX (Phillips 66): beats on earnings;misses on revenue;
  • $3.10/share; $28.91 billion
  • forecast: $2.37; $29.10 billion
  • same period last year: $1.66; $25.88 billion 
Build-A-Bear Workshop:
  • reported a loss of 12 cents (I have never invested in BBW; and have notplans to ever do so; just curious)
Greenbrier:
  • $0.94/share; revenue of $689 million; earnings miss; Wall Street expected, $1.07
  • backlog grows to $3.0 billion
  • earnings performance third best in Greenbrier history
CMCSA: blue skies ahead -- Motley Fool

CARBO Ceramics: 3Q18 earnings loss and misses revenue estimates; it's been my impression that Bakken fracks are almost 100% sand these days;

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I Hit A Wall

I Hit A Wall, Willie Neslon

Archived -- 2017 And Before

This is just some housekeeping. Nothing new here. I am removing these from the sidebar at theright to clean it up a bit.
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Gravedigger

Gravedigger, Dave Matthews